Our Vision for Resolution

Have you watched Chief Martel’s vision statement?

View it here:  https://youtu.be/mxRwD5iMRG4

From the start of our action in February 2009, Representative Plaintiff Chief Marcia Martel (Brown) has urged respect, reconciliation, resolution. Two successive federal governments (under Harper and Trudeau) have attempted to delay our case and have our claim thrown out of court.  Despite all this, we have never given in and never given up.  We have persisted.

On February 14, 2017, the Honourable Justice Belobaba decided there was a valid claim and found that Canada had breached a duty of care to the 16,000 survivors of the Ontario Sixties’ Scoop.

Though in June Canada attempted, yet again, to delay and avoid accountability, the Court made clear that the finding of liability was not to be re-opened. The case would proceed to the financial compensation hearing, scheduled for October 11, 12, & 13 in Toronto.

Since we began the case in 2009, other actions have been commenced (though ours remains the only certified case in Canada and the only one to have established liability in the court).  The lawyers for the claimants in cases in other provinces are meeting with Federal Court Justice Michel Shore in the weeks ahead to attempt to work out a settlement, under order of that Court. They have invited our lawyers to participate in a pan-Canadian resolution. Chief Martel has directed our lawyers to attend.

Here are the most important things for you to know about these discussions:

  • This is an important opportunity to impart our vision for reconciliation. Chief Martel’s video statement outlines that vision very clearly;
  • The discussions are confidential and we cannot talk about what gets discussed until and unless all parties agree;
  • We are attending this meeting on our own terms. Our case is not part of the federal court actions and therefore, no ruling or direction in that court can be made against our claim in Ontario;
  • Our lawyers can withdraw from these talks at any time and, very importantly, nothing done or said there can be used to delay or interfere with our case for proper financial compensation;
  • The hearings scheduled for October 11, 12th, and 13th are still on. This will not change until and unless a settlement offer that includes fair and proper financial compensation for Ontario survivors is put forward.

Some of us, we know, have experienced anguish in all of the attempts by the federal government to deny or delay this case. Time and time again we heard the government say-one-thing-do-another. The healing process is profoundly challenging for those whose childhood was lost.

We go into these talks with our eyes open.  Hopeful, not naïve.  Receptive, not vulnerable. Respectful, not weak. We will see. We are watching.

Thank you.

Ontario Sixties Scoop Committee

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If I saw the Minister today, I would say, “Dear Minister, you are still standing in the dark…”

Chief Marcia Martel (Brown), our Representative Plaintiff, and her response to the government’s latest attempt for more delay, more litigation. Please view and share with others: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfs6kfhOMQc&t=2s

CLICK HERE to read the document Canada’s lawyers gave to the Honourable Justice Belobaba on Friday, June 10, 2017.

In response, on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the Case Management Justice told the parties the case was proceeding, as scheduled. The hearing to determine the amount of compensation for survivors to loss of cultural identity will proceed in Toronto on October 11th, 2017.  Liability will not be re-opened for more litigation.

Mark the date of October 11th, 2017 in your calendar. It is a public hearing. Let us honour, with our presence at the hearing, the courageous journey of the survivors, their walk through two federal governments to re-claim their nature and re-unite with family, community and nation.

Our lawyers asked the Case Management Judge on June 14, 2017 for the opportunity to attend with Canada’s lawyers before another judge to try to settle our case. But, Canada’s lawyers said they would not do that, and the Court cannot order parties to try to settle.

Canada’s Minister and Prime Minister say the words of reconciliation, but they do the opposite.

“Dear Minister, you are still standing in the dark…”

The Ontario Sixties Scoop Committee

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Canada Calls for 16,000 New Trials to Establish Harm in Sixties Scoop Case

Survivors seek reconciliation, while Government seeks further litigation

TORONTO, June 13, 2017—Today, in an astonishing turn of events, and in apparent contradiction to the Government’s own position, Justice Department lawyers issued an argument that blatantly questions the court’s finding of government liability in the Ontario Sixties Scoop Claim.

In February 2017, the Ontario Superior Court found the Government of Canada liable for harm endured by Ontario Sixties Scoop survivors in failing to protect their cultural identities. With the liability decision made, the case moved to the next stage: a decision regarding compensation and relief for survivors.

Concurrent with the court’s decision earlier this year, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett acknowledged that harm was done and expressed a desire to work together to right these historic wrongs, stating “We have no intention of going back to court.”

However, in a memo released today, Crown lawyers outlined a new argument for continued litigation over the question of liability and relief stating: “The summary judgement decision does not establish liability.”  Further, the memo states:

  • Causation cannot be established on a case-wide basis; and
  • An aggregate assessment of damanges is not possible.

The implications of these arguments are significant. “The government is calling for 16,000 additional individual trials to determine if harm was done. This would not only come at an exorberant cost to tax payers, it would block access to justice for thousands of Indigenous Ontarians,” says Jeffery Wilson, lead attorney for the claimants.

Chief Marcia Brown Martel, lead claimant in the case, expressed great dismay and disappointment in the government’s tactics. “It’s as if Canada is saying that the judge’s decision in February meant nothing,” she said.  Chief Martel  has long expressed the desire to see this case settled out of court to enable the healing process to begin.

Prior to the argument issued by the Crown today, Chief Brown had formally tabled with government a framework for settlement to support reconciliation at the systemic level.  While this framework included direct compensation, survivors would also contribute a portion of their relief entitlements to:

  • Create a healing foundation that would provide culturally appropriate mental health and wellness support for all Sixties Scoop survivors in Canada and for future generations of Indigenous Canadians impacted by the Scoop.
  • Establish a University Chair or scholarship to advance research on the value and protection of the cultural identities of all Canadians
  • Commission and install a public art work acknowledging the history of the Sixties Scoop

“What we envisioned was a path forward, the start of a new relationship between survivors and Canada,” said Chief Martel. “What we got was a painful reminder that we are all still standing in the dark. It is time for Canada to turn the light on. ”



Chief Marcia Brown Martel, lead claimant in the Ontario Sixties Scoop Claim, expresses great dismay and disappointment in the Government of Canada’s tactics delaying any movement towards a settlement that would support reconciliation at the systemic level.



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Mark it in Your Calendar!

October 11, 12, 13, 2017

Osgoode Hall Courthouse- Toronto

The Honourable Justice E. Belobaba will hear the case of financial compensation owing to the 16,000 survivors of Ontario’s Sixties Scoop.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is just compensation for someone who dies alive and, because of dying alive, is deprived of all contact with her family, extended family and community? Canada did this. It registered living Chief Marcia Martel as deceased, and almost got away with it.


  • How much money did Canada save by denying 16,000 people their cultural identities and the opportunity to exercise their financial entitlements as Canada’s First Nations’ peoples?


  • How many adopted or crown ward First Nations’ children and their adopting parents and guardians knew they could attend university or college free of cost?


  • How many adopted or crown ward First Nations’ children and their adopting parents and guardians knew they were entitled to free extended health services


  • How many adopted or crown ward First Nations’ children and their adopting parents and guardians knew they were entitled to receive the benefits of hunting, fishing, and housing allowances and a share of Band settlement claims?

   Stay tuned – More to come  Arrange to attend  Don’t want to miss this event

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“I urge all survivors of the Sixties Scoop in Ontario to unite behind Chief Marcia Martel (Brown) and register as claimants in her case, the only Sixties Scoop case in Canada that has been certified as a class proceeding. Let her be our spokesperson for all Ontario survivors.”

Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day

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Dear Sixties Scoop Survivors:

I am so pleased we are where we are. Now, we are going forward with the settlement discussions and also, at the same time, the continuation of our case for financial compensation.

I want to make clear that I, as your representative plaintiff from the very beginning, back in February of 2009, will not settle without settlement including all persons who are the survivors of the Sixties Scoop. “All persons” means that it does not matter whether you were, or were not, living on the reserve when you were removed, or you were removed before 1965, or that you are not a status “Indian”.  Survivors, for the purpose of settlement, includes all aboriginals who suffered harm as a result of the Sixties Scoop.

I repeat: all that mattered to me when I started this case with Robert Commanda was that everyone who experienced the harm would receive compensation in any financial settlement. That is all that still matters to me.


I am therefore sending out this message for any and all persons who experienced the harm of the Sixties Scoop to register with our case by:

  • clicking on the words “Registration as a Class Member”at the top of the website page at www.sixtiessccoopclaim.com and sending in the registration form, or
  • contacting us by phoneat:  416-956-5625, 1-866-360-5952 (toll free), or

I have learned that there are other lawyers attempting to organize a new representative to our claim in a new and separate case.  I share this with you about this new case with a different lawyer:

  1. Our case is the only case in Canada that is certified as a class action;
  1. Our case is, therefore, the only case in Canada with a decision finding the Government of Canada legally responsible for the harm we suffered;
  1. Our case is, therefore, the only case in Canada at the stage of pursuing damages before the Court, if settlement discussions end; and
  1. Our case is the case copied by the other lawyers in other jurisdictions. Those cases, including the new and separate one in Ontario, are at the beginning of litigation, with their lawyers doing nothing until our case was decided.
  1. Our case is the case that has brought Canada to the table to discuss settlement. Our case is the case that has awakened Canada to the fact of what the Minister calls “the dark chapter in Canadian history”.

SO, let us honour those survivors who are, sadly, not with us by joining together and all of us, status or non-status, living or not living on a Band reserve when removed, forced off our lands before or after 1965, coming forward and registering.



ALL OF US: let us be one with our history to make sure this never happens again.


Chief Marcia Martel (Brown)

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After the February 14, 2017 decision:

  • Register/sign up to be included in the Ontario Sixties Scoop Class Action
  • Negotiations are now occurring. Make sure you sign up whether you are a Status or non-Status Indian, lived or did not live on a reserve, or were removed before 1965.
  • All that matters is that you were removed in Ontario. It does not matter that you were placed outside Ontario.

Thank you to all who have assisted us to reach the stage of proving liability, demonstrating that a wrong-in-law did take place.
Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Norther Affairs, stated in the House of Commons on February 15, 2017 that the Government will “absolutely” not be appealing. But, we have seen before, as recently as February 1st and February 2nd, 2017 how the Minister says one thing on Wednesday (i.e. “dark chapter” in Canadian history and no more litigation) and the government does the other on Thursday (i.e. file a brief with the Judge asking for the 8th time for the case to be dismissed). The government has 30 days to appeal from February 14, 2017. We are advised Canada will try to negotiate an across-Canada settlement and, until that occurs, if ever, the Ontario case will continue and proceed to the damages stage. The judge will hear evidence and be asked to assess the amount of money that should be paid to the victims of the Ontario Sixties Scoop. Representative plaintiff Marcia Brown Martel will be presenting to the judge a request for an aggregate sum of damages to provide for programs that ensure that what happened to the Sixties Scoop Survivors cannot happen again.
With the ruling, we celebrate:

  • A judicial finding that our children have voices and their harm has been heard
  • the fact that this is the first case in the western world of law that says that our government has a duty to protect our cultural identity;
  • the fact that this is the first case in the western world of law that says that the duty to protect our cultural identity belongs to each of us as individuals, and is not reserved exclusively to our Bands or Chiefs to assert a collective right. Each of us is deserved of respect and recognition of her or his Indigenous traditions, customs and language. Cultural identity is an individual right. 

Ceremonial sharing video and media reporting of the Sixties Scoop Judicial Decision

  • If you would like to watch the ceremonial sharing of the February 14, 2017 decision of the Honourable Justice Edward Belobaba that took place that day at the Native Child and Family Services Centre in Toronto, click here.
  • If you would like to have a listing of the media articles that captured the event of the Honourable Judge’s ruling, click here.

Ontario Sixties Scoop Steering Committee

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